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Archive for March 15th, 2009

Customer Driven Testing

with 4 comments

David Anderson, James Shore and I engaged in a Twitter dialog about the post Every Nine Minutes. Our exchange highlights the importance of balancing development, deployment and operations, as follows:

what concerns me about continuous deployment is it is developer centric. Deployment has a cost for the customer [DA]

Continuous deployment involves automating what must be done anyway. Unless you mean end customer, don’s see the costs you mean [JS]

yes end customer. not everyone wants the UI changing every 9 mins 😉 what about training? marketing? etc..? [DA]

I think that’s an issue that’s raised by, but independent of, continuous deployment, and quite manageable. [JS]

 I want 2 c people talk about this holistically. If deploying more often is better then how do u reduce cost/impact on customer? [DA]

It seems to work quite well for their clientele. Their iterative customer development work might be the ‘secret sauce’ [IG]

is this an aspect of their tech enthusiast, early adopter market? [DA]

I think it is deeper – they adjust their testing to the needs of their market segment. Will blog on it later today. [IG]

The software IMVU produces is similar in some respects to what Clay Shirky calls Situated Software: “… designed for use by a specific social group, rather than for a generic set of users”. . .  IMVU’s  testing seems to be in good accord with the needs and priorities of their young users. Certain deficits in their software do not seem to be terribly important to their clientele. As pointed out by Elizabeth Hendrickson it might not be perfect but the software does the job for the target clientele and creates value.

The way IMVU develops the customer in an iterative manner (in parallel with iterating on the product) seems to be the key. Deep understanding of customer and problem determines testing strategy. Given their Lean Startup orientation, “good enough” testing seems to be quite appropriate for their business design:

  • Product release cycle in hours, not years
  • Tightly coupled with customer development
  • Minimum feature set, maximum customer coverage
  • Rapid hypothesis testing around market, pricing, customers,…
  • Extremely low cost, low burn, tight focus

IMVU is an example of the approach advocated in Agile Considerations for CXOs: don’t harness Agile into a rigid business design; instead, develop a business design around the capabilities of Agile.

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Written by israelgat

March 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm